Can You Make Spaghetti & Meatballs on the First Try?

A real gem of a cookbook.

I got up yesterday morning and made a Shop Rite (that’s a food store for those of you not located in the Northeast) run to get the makings of a spaghetti and meatballs dinner with garlic bread and Caesar salad. I started cooking in mid-afternoon following two recipes in Lidia Matticchio Bastianich’s Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen. I’ve had this cookbook for years and it’s a winner; I’ve made many, many dishes, all really tasty, from it. Living where I do in a predominantly Italian/American county in northern New Jersey these are the recipes that I’m used to tasting and they make everyone around here feel happy and loved. . .except my ‘real’ Italian (direct from Italy by way of Sicily and Milan, areas with two distinct cooking styles) girlfriend Anna who wrinkled her nose after tasting one locally made dish and asked, “You call this Italian cooking? Too much garlic!”

Anyway, I lined up all the ingredients and started chopping, beating, mixing and stirring, then my husband Mike yelled for some help. We had just gotten me a new printer/scanner (yeah!!) and he wanted me to help him hook it up. To be honest, he had it hooked up; he wanted me to put in my security passwords and stuff that was easier than the actual hooking up. So we worked together, step by step, on it until I smelled something burning. Running into the kitchen, I found the forgotten sauce boiling over and a large portion of it burned to the bottom of my favorite decades-old pot. Yuck.

Thinking quickly (and yelling loudly at myself in frustration ), I dumped the ruined sauce and started scraping the bottom of my favorite pot. And scraping and scraping. It was maddening. Finally, I abandoned the pot, threw on my coat and drove back to Shop Rite to get more tomatoes and start again. Grrrr.

Racing against the clock I tossed the ingredients into a different pot and began again. In between the stirrring, I scoured the burned pot and <finally> got the burned bits off the bottom. I re-made the sauce with a few minutes to spare. The doorbell rang and 11 hungry athletes walked through the front door. You see, last night my daughter Tory’s club volleyball team, the Pink Panthers, came over for a pasta dinner and team building event before their next tournament. The girls are a delight. They arrived in ones and twos and threes, each polite and cheerful as they handed me their drinks and home-made desserts then headed downstairs to play pool and bond. Needless to say, after the racing around I did, I have to admit I ate a few of the freshly backed cookies that arrived, still soft and gooey from the oven. It <almost> made it worth it!!

Have you had a kitchen disaster? Of epic proportions? Company dinner disaster? Spill it! Tell me now!

P.S. Tomorrow is setup day for the NJ Flower Show. Wish me luck! I have so much stuff (my front hallway is full, the flowers are cooling in the basement, and the 4’ x4’ floor cover is sitting on my kitchen island) I’m bringing with me (just in case) that my friend Pat is coming along to help ferry it into the convention center. You may remember that she’s one of the Magnificent Seven, a valued member of my “posse.” And, importantly, she’s really calm, which I will welcome tomorrow!!

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5 Responses to Can You Make Spaghetti & Meatballs on the First Try?

  1. Carole says:

    I love this cookbook too….next to Barefoot Contessa she is the best foodie mentor!

    Second, I have never been able to reclaim a burnt pot — there’s always been a faint residue of charred whatever….so I have always taken the plunge and tossed the thing out, no matter how beloved. You are a better woman than I!

    Third and most important, good luck today….you will be awesome!!

  2. pinkknotes says:

    I actually don’t have any kitchen disaster stories, surprisingly!

    Good luck today! I hope there will be photos (hint hint) 🙂

  3. richard duff says:

    reading this make me hungry 🙂

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